Of course, the first thing that happens when I get into the village is a drunk coming at me, fists swinging because “fucking Black Ones are stealing our jobs”. I think cutting the offending fists off is an appropriate punishment.
That reminds me of an encounter I had in southern Temeria. The peasantry was as friendly as always. Until I happened upon a Nilfgaardian patrol. They ordered me to surrender my weapons immediately, so naturally, I blasted them down with Aard. I cut them both down before they could get up. So then the village elder comes to me and says, “I’m sorry, master witcher, I see now you’ve no love for the Black Ones,” he says.
“It’s more that they have no love for me, but that’s just semantics,” I said.
Guess what the peasant said then. “Semantix? Who’s that? Some Nilfgaardian commander?”
I talked to the couple. They said they’re called Siemion and Mira. During the last war they lost a child to wild dogs. They decided to keep their child’s belongings in its room as a memorial. About a year ago, they started hearing voices. Laughter. Crying. They would wake up in the morning to find the toys scattered but doors and windows remained closed. Whatever’s haunting them is clearly tied to their child’s death. I told them to leave the house and I’m investigating the room.
Every time I grab this doll my medallion starts vibrating. Dead child. Magic toy. Haunting. It’s a poppet. It’s gotta be. Two ways to get rid of it. Bury all the child’s possessions with the child, or wait outside until it manifests, it won’t show with strangers around. I have to talk to the parents. See what they want to do.
Talked to the parents. Stubborn lot. Refuse to bury the child’s possessions. I will have to get rid of the poppet the hard way.
Nasty things, poppets. Sometimes, when a child dies, its sorrow and grief can reanimate its former possessions. That’s why you get rid of toys, shoes, etc. It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes an additional tragedy can bring it forth later. The parents reluctantly told me about a pellar pronouncing the mother barren just before the haunting started. That grief manifested it. They were a bit stingy with the coin too, but I managed to convince them to give me their horse. Older white mare, should suffice for me.
I’m about to meditate outside the village. I genuinely hope this will be the end of their misfortune. Running out of rubedo for the oils. I will have to make more. Which reminds about making more white gull.
It’s dark enough. The poppet should have manifested by now. I’m going in, but I have to take it slowly.
I have dispatched the poppet. Never before I had to kill a wooden doll. A malicious, giggling, child-sized wooden doll. I advised the parents again to get rid of the child’s possessions, but they still refuse. At least I got paid and got the horse.